If you’re looking to purchase some of the finest gems in the world head to Istanbul; its jewellery shops are wonders to behold
When shopping for fine jewellery in Istanbul, you’ll find a fabulous array of home-grown brands and international stars. From spectacular cocktails rings to dainty pendants, the city’s boutiques have something to offer every taste and budget. Istanbul has always been a city filled with glittering gems. At the peak of the Ottoman Empire, the construction of the world-famous Grand Bazaar meant the city began to be seen as a place of wonders, offering some of the most impressive treasures in the world. Nowadays those treasures can be found throughout the city, often in the safes of Istanbul’s most exclusive jewellery stores.
One boutique holding gems of particular wonder this season is Cartier. The brand’s Turkish flagship is situated in prestigious İstinye Park, where a red carpet welcomes discerning customers. Twice a year Cartier presents a collection of high jewellery (exclusive one-off pieces of significant value) during Paris Haute Couture week. The latest collection, Coloratura, is inspired by the vivid colours of India, Japan and Africa. The stones used in the 240-piece range are outstanding; mysterious opals, vibrant rubellites and delicate tourmalines are set in modern and unexpected designs, with each one keeping the colour of the gems as its focus.
While Cartier’s classic Love bracelets and solitaire engagement rings mean consistently big business for this global brand, the high jewellery gives an insight into the clever creativity and craftsmanship that the house has to offer. This season’s pieces are daring and certain to make a statement. Highlights include an elegant art deco-inspired necklace featuring pale pink tourmalines with a cascade of cabochon stones, and a diamond and coralite bangle containing a miniature secret watch beneath the intense orange stones.
If bright fine jewellery is high on your shopping list but you are searching for more everyday glamour, then Italian house Pomellato should be your first stop. The brand’s store in the Zorlu shopping centre offers a huge variety of colourful pieces. Perhaps the most easily recognisable of Pomellato’s collections is the Nudo range, launched in 2001 with a selection of rings, earrings and pendants that added fun to the world of fine jewellery. In a novel take on the traditional solitaire ring, stones such as topaz, quartz and amethyst are placed in the most minimal of settings, allowing the gems themselves to take centre stage. The setting and the way the stones are cut are copyright protected, so unique was the original design.
Seventeen years after the collection first launched there have been eight incarnations, including the supersized Nudo Maxi, the glittering Nudo with Diamonds and the Nudo Night & Day featuring intriguing black and white moonstones. Nudo pieces are bestsellers from Pomellato, with customers mixing and matching multiple colours and sizes for a stacked look.
For those less inclined to opt for bright hues, the brand’s latest range, Iconica, is sure to impress. Launched to celebrate Pomellato’s 50th anniversary, the selection of chunky, modern rose gold rings, pendants and bracelets peppered with diamonds are perfect for making a quieter statement. Honouring the brand’s long heritage of goldsmithing, the Iconica pieces are a tribute to the beauty of simplicity and are perhaps the most wearable of all of Pomellato’s collections.
Beauty and simplicity are always at the heart of New York jeweller Harry Winston’s collections. Using some of the most exquisite of diamonds, the brand’s collections are timeless. Perhaps the best example of this beautiful simplicity is the Winston Cluster. First created in the 1940s, the collection was based on Mr Winston’s personal philosophy that it should be diamonds that dictate designs and not the other way around. Featuring pear, marquise and round diamonds set in platinum, each cluster of stones is perfectly angled to capture light from every side. Since the 40s the collection has been extended time and time again to include sapphires, rubies and emeralds; however, it is the original cluster of white diamonds that keeps Harry Winston’s customers crossing the threshold of its new Turkish boutique.
Opened in February 2018, the store sits in the exclusive Emaar Square Mall. The foyer features a monochrome marble floor, in a pattern not dissimilar to the Cluster collection, and houses some of the brand’s most exceptional creations.
All-out glamour may not be on every jewellery hunter’s wish list when visiting Istanbul, some may be looking for pieces a little more authentically Turkish. One of the most internationally renowned of the city’s jewellers is Bee Goddess, (it even boasts its own boutique inside London’s Harrods) and it offers the perfect combination of glittering fine jewellery and traditional Turkish culture. Founder Ece Sirin uses ancient mythology and talismanic symbols such as bees, stars and spirals when designing, and wishes each piece to bring light to the wearer’s life.
One of the brand’s bestselling collections is Eye Light, featuring the traditional eye talisman seen widely across the former Ottoman Empire. It is said to be the symbol of wisdom and light, and the brand has rendered it in rose gold with blue, black and white diamonds. Ranging from dainty bracelets to statement rings, the collection offers a way to take both a piece of fine jewellery and the culture of Turkey home with you.
Istanbul’s jewellery market may have come a long way since the first stalls in the Grand Bazaar, but the modern-day treasures are no less wonderful to behold. In a city where traditional talismans sit alongside modern minimal designs, those looking to purchase the finest jewels in the world are spoiled for choice; and with more new labels and globally renowned brands setting up shop here every year, there is no better place to search for beautiful gems.